University of Hertfordshire

By the same authors

Russellian Monism and Mental Causation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


  • RMMC%204.1

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Original languageEnglish
Journal publication date5 Jul 2019
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 5 Jul 2019


Russellian monism has been hailed as a breakthrough theory of consciousness and its place in nature. The theory is often described as accomplishing something that has eluded traditional versions of both physicalism and dualism: doing justice to what makes consciousness distinctive while at the same time adequately integrating consciousness into the natural causal order.1 But critics have challenged that description. According to Russellian monism, consciousness is constituted at least partly by quiddities: intrinsic properties that categorically ground dispositional (or structural) properties described by fundamental physics.2 It follows that consciousness and physical properties are closely connected. But how closely? The contingency thesis says that the connection is contingent. For example, negative charge might have been categorically grounded by a consciousness-constituting quiddity that is distinct from the one that actually grounds it. Must Russellian monists accept the contingency thesis? What are its implications for their view? Contrary to recent critics, we argue that the contingency thesis poses no problem to Russellian monists, leaving the promise of their theory undiminished.

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